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72) Old Moor, RSPB, Dearne Valley, Old Moor lane, Bolton upon Dearne, Barnsley, S73 0YF
The route is two linear wanders, mostly on compacted gravel, some hard standing, some parts over wide bridges, some on mud though these areas can be bypassed. To do both sections will mean covering around 2.8 miles. You can extend the route by heading onto the Trans-pennine Trail from the carpark.
Garden area - small slope on looser gravel - this can be avoided.
Left linear route to the Bittern Bus Stop and hides - hardstanding and one shallow slope.
Right linear route to the Wader Scrape Hides etc one slope -long but not steep.
No steps - no gates, no steep slopes, no styles.
A great place for everyone to explore. The staff and volunteers are very helpful so just ask them if you need anything to assist your visit.
Facilities on site:
Carpark with ample free Blue Badge parking, the whole carpark is level.
Courtyard - under cover area.
Disabled toilets, not large but big enough for a wheelchair to enter. One toilet accessed from the courtyard and one inside the building.
Cafe - accessed via an internal lift- a good size and should be enough room for all but the biggest mobility scooters. If you are on your own then ask the shop staff to grab the lift door for you as it is a manual opening door and a little awkward on your own.
The cafe is excellent - I can vouch for the bacon butties, vegan menu and of course coffee and cakes!
On the site the RSPB operate a mobility scooter for visitors to use. You may need to book this before your planned visit.
There is a boot wash area by the garden that is handy for washing down wheels if required.
All of the 6 hides are accessible for wheelchair users. large mobility scooters may struggle as they are not huge hides, except the Family hide which is massive. All of the hides have viewing points for wheelchair users - signs in place stating "priority for disabled visitors" but you may need to politely prompt the hardy visitors who may have set up their scopes as the disabled viewing areas were not being used when they arrive.
There are a few viewing points and screens around the reserve- disabled visitors have been catered for so you can see the wildlife.
A couple of the hides have a tighter entrance area - so opening the door is a manoeuvring test if you are on your own.
Dogs not allowed accept accredited guide and assistance dogs.
Children's play area provided. Do also check the RSPB web site to find out about any events they may be running.
There are some wooden platforms overlooking ponds - excellent for viewing but be aware there is not any edge protection to stop wheels and you rolling over the edge.
The reserve is free for RSPB Members - a charge is made for none members to visit £5 per adult and £2.50 for a child. Good that a free carer place can be claimed for your visit if you are disabled.
What might you see?
All the types of woodland bird and waterfowl, waders, geese, gulls, Egrets, Heron, Grebes, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, all the tits inc Long Tailed, Bearded Tits on the reed beds. Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Owl. Stars of the reserve are the Bittern which you can hear during spring booming their call. Water Rail, Snipe. Stoat, and if your really lucky Otter and Grass Snakes.
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